For the last stop on our summer tour, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray stopped by to say why he relented on a controversial affordable housing proposal. Plus, a new Tim Eyman initiative qualifies for the ballot, Russell Wilson stays a Seahawk and Bill Radke answers the question: "Should I be using less water?"
Featuring Radke, The Stranger's Eli Sanders, former state attorney general Rob McKenna, Northwest News Network's Phyllis Fletcher, Seattle Times sportswriter Percy Allen and a happy crowd at The Vera Project at Seattle Center.
We asked some of the audience members what's been on their minds as we approach elections season. Remember that ballots are due Tuesday, Aug. 4!
Craig Clayton and Karen Ramey live together on Queen Anne. Clayton has been in the city for 30 years, Ramey grew up in Poulsbo and came to Seattle 15 years ago. Growth and density have been on their mind.
"I feel like we have trouble getting anywhere at any time of the day,” Ramey said.
Clayton on density:
“On our immediate radar is the development going on directly around our house. … We live in a single-family zone about a block away [from a multi-family zone]. So we're seen houses being torn down and row houses being put up left and right.
[It’s] changing the view, or lack thereof, and parking and traffic and everything else. Thinking of putting a mother-in-law apartment above our detached garage if [the city housing] plan goes through.
“It’s not a bad solution to have those kinds of changes in an existing single-family zone. I still think the traffic and parking issues are going to be a problem either way. …
“I don't think there are any good solutions unless you somehow lower the demand for wanting to move to Seattle or otherwise you need to increase the supply so that rent and housing costs don't skyrocket. … There’s no good solution to the problem of the kind of growth we’re going to experience, given our geographical constraints. So our solution might be to move out of the city.”
Jean Kasota has lived in the Wedgewood neighborhood of Seattle for 30 years. She said she's very happy that Mayor Ed Murray backed down on the single-family zoning issue, but still has concerns about development in her neighborhood.
"I have some developers who have bought four houses across the street and I’m really concerned about what they’re going to do with that.
"If triplexes go in there you figure how much extra parking, how many cars – I mean that could be two per unit. I’m all about the backyard ‘mother-in-laws,’ or the cottages, but I’m not about triplexes.”
Sara Beckmann grew up in south King County. Right now she said she is without permanent housing, but is staying in the lower Queen Anne area.
"Affordable housing is an issue, especially coming from someone in my situation. I see all these high-rise condos being built, or luxury apartments, whereas people I know who work two, three jobs can’t even find an affordable place to live these days.
“I know a girl who rents a house up on Beacon Hill. The owner of that land has a huge plot and he has a tiny one bedroom house which he rents… She’s technically renting [the front half of the plot], but she's not allowed to make planting boxes … I wouldn’t want to see six of her tiny little houses on that property because then you lose all the green space and it just looks like an ant colony. … I would say people never utilize their vertical space and there really is no way to go but up.”